Thursday, June 11, 2009

Just because a cat is scared...

Two months ago a married couple brought their cat to me, and the experience was so depressing, that I still haven't been able to shake that bad feeling.

At the start of the day, I reviewed my appointment book, and was caught off guard to see that we had a client coming to the clinic for the first time, and they were requesting euthanasia. Ending a cat's life is tremendously taxing emotionally, and I cannot imagine doing so without knowing why. However, within seconds of looking at the cat later that day, I had no doubt that this cat needed to be put to sleep. She was a walking skeleton with a low core body temperature and a dull mentation. I knew it was the proper move, so I didn't inquire as to the course of events preceding the visit. She was on course to pass away within days, but was obviously suffering, so I had the staff get ready to perform the procedure.

What I didn't expect was the look I got when I looked into one of the owner's eyes. She wanted to be sure there was nothing that could be done. I confidently assured her that was the case, but what I couldn't say was that if she had only come sooner, we would have likely been able to avoid this day. That just brakes my heart. From examination, it was clear to me that the cat's condition was brought on by an uncontrolled endocrine disease called hyperthyroidism. This is something we now have the opportunity to CURE with just one injection, yet this cat was dying from it.

Now, hyperthyroidism is not necessarily a walk in the park, and there is money and other factors to consider, but this family never gave themselves the opportunity. Once upon a time, someone told them their cat was a bad cat, and they should never bring that cat back to their clinic. And they did just that. They loved their cat, but they never had it examined again at any veterinary clinic because someone suggested that it was "mean."

There are no mean cats, just scared ones; and just because a cat is scared, it shouldn't be deprived of medical care if that is what the family wants. Seeing that couple cry their hearts out in front of a complete stranger tells me that they wanted just that. If you have a cat who behaves defensively in the veterinary clinic, don't fret over it. A good vet is going to know when to reach for a little chemical restraint (with your permission of course), and you'll be able to keep your beloved companion healthy into their golden years.

7 Comments:

At 8:49 PM, Blogger thirtynothing said...

wow. this breaks my heart! my first kitty ever died several months ago from the same thing. He'd had it for years, but we were told there wasn't much we could do. He didn't really suffer until his last day, and he was 16 yrs old! In fact my mom's wallet probably suffered more than he did, from all the cat food she was buying to try and assuage his seeming constant hunger! still, it's hard to watch a pet lose that much weight, and feel like there's nothing you can do. I only wish I'd brought him in to you. At least I know my Pepper will receive the best care possible, as she continues to visit your clinic!

 
At 11:40 PM, Blogger Buffy said...

My cat is terrified of the vet and I can't tell you how much I appreciate having a vet who doesn't blame the cat for being terrified of some stranger poking him with sharp objects.

I feel the same way about my dentist.

 
At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Ginkgo100 said...

My friendly Siamese, who runs to the door like a dog to greet guests, turns into a raving, violent monster at the vet. I would never trust a vet who could not manage the situation! In Foxy's case, it actually has at times required "chemical restraint." It's not just a problem for the staff—she's obviously suffering a lot from her terror. So I think it's totally appropriate to give her something to "take the edge off."

 
At 8:13 AM, Anonymous cat health said...

Ending a sweet cat's life? It is terrible...

- Mathew

 
At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this kind message. Our cat is terrified of the vet (and terrified of most things in general) and we allow him to live a very safe and sheltered life. After my last attempt to bring him to the vet when he ripped the door off of the cat carrier along with most of his nails, we decided not to take him to the vet without some medicine to help him.

The vet tech on the phone was extremely dismissive and rude implying that I wasn't a good owner for wanting to medicate my cat to bring him to the vet. Thankfully, the vet gave us something to calm him down and we are leaving in a couple of minutes to have him examined (he has large tumors in his mouth and is a young cat). I love my cat, but I physically cannot take him to the vet in his agitated state. Thank you for affirming that he is scared and not bad.

 
At 10:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's good to know that vet med has advanced - five years ago when Smokey died of hyperthyroidism, there was only pretty scary symptom management available.
At the same time, it is pretty sad. I miss her.

Sheryl

 
At 7:07 AM, Blogger marjolein said...

I was told something similar by a vet, called my cat a devil cat...and he suggested that in the area we lived in there was no risk so there was no need to bring Merlin in for his yearly booster shots. We now have a different vet, who after seeing Merlin bounce around his office spitting etc etc, now comes to my house, where Merlin is fine, to treat him when called. :-)

 

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